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Willy T considers legal action to remain on Norman Island

The new Willy T vessel

Owner of the famous William Thornton (Willy T) Floating Bar & Restaurant, Ewan Anderson says he is willing to legally fight for the vessel to remain off The Bight on Norman Island.

The new and improved floating restaurant arrived in the British Virgin Islands on Thursday (May 10) from the United States to replace the previous vessel which had been destroyed during the September hurricanes.

But, according to Anderson, when he visited Her Majesty’s Customs at the Tortola Pier Park, he was told he had to seek another location to do business.

He said he felt ‘physical pain’ at the shocking news and said moving Willy T from The Bight is “unthinkable”.

He further said the location at Norman Island is ideal for his line of business.

“Having travelled more than 1,600 miles by sea, spent half-a-million dollars on the new Willy T to be told by [Premier and Minister responsible for Tourism] Dr Orlando Smith and Archibald Christian [the Junior Minister of Tourism], that there was a new development in The Bight and they [the developers] do not want the new Willy T anchored there,” he said.

When asked if he plans to take the matter to court, Anderson said: “If it comes to that I have some friends that could help me, yes,” Anderson told BVI News on Friday, May 11.

Issue was raised before

Anderson said the government first broached the subject of Willy T relocating after Hurricane Irma.

However, he said there were no further discussions on the matter.

“I was told that there would be further meetings with the developers. That never happened and I presumed that everything was ok. We have to find out legally what the situation is because nobody has the rights to the sea including the Willy T but, theoretically, nobody can tell us to move,” he added.

Willy T is iconic

Anderson said he remains hopeful Willy T will be allowed to return to Norman Island.

“We have been there for 35 years. We are an icon, the people come to the BVI because of the Willy T. I am willing to talk to them to work out a deal with them because the Willy T will be the attraction to anything. I am willing to work with them,” he said.

Anderson said he is waiting on further word from the government today.

Efforts to contact Premier Smith and Junior Minister Christian have been unsuccessful.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

115 Comments

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  1. de ting start says:

    doc taking action against the uk and willy t taking action against him

  2. lol says:

    leh we march in solidarity of willy t

  3. Mike C says:

    been to the BVI 3 times for about 2 months total. Been to Willy T EVERY trip. MEMORABLE every time.

    S T U P I D for the government to take developers money and run off the top tourist attraction in the area.

    • Old says:

      People asking if willyt is back on the sea bath white bay Willyt foxy and lobster in Anegada is where these people want to go no one own the sea

    • The Millers says:

      If Norman doesn’t ’t want Willy Ts then they will suffer the consequences and somewhere else in the BVI will reap the benefits. Honestly Norman Island is nothing without Willy Ts so it’s their loss. We will find Willy Ts wherever they end up and will forget Norman Island as will everyone else. Stupid people do stupid things!

  4. Shocked says:

    To use a trumpism, “Sue the Bastards!”

  5. Allbalney says:

    If the masters of Norman Island won’t let the Willie T anchor off their new island then I suppose they won’t let them anchor off the other island they own – Guana Island – too!

  6. Pam says:

    How about you go to your legal spot with you legal trade licence and then wait for a legal document with lawful reasons stating why you should move your 35yr old business before you fold your business over a couple of politicians who decide one day to pull you in their office on some undisclosed individuals whim to threaten you out of your 35yr old location.

  7. Sailor T says:

    We won’t be visiting the BVI until the Willy T is back in place. My family has been to the BVI over a dozen times for both land and yacht vacations. The ONLY time we missed it was this winter while the BVI waited for it to return. Brandon

    • Well sah says:

      Oh yea I agree stay where ever you are. We don’t want that sceptic attitude here. Try amarica they will let you visit and do what you like. No rules no governance. Have a good time. Xox

  8. voter says:

    They hate locals

  9. Irish republican army says:

    God save the Queen ten that in yo be hind

  10. Sonzabich says:

    Willy R ain’t but a floating ho house on weekends. Real dump.

    • Curly says:

      It does not matter if you like it or not, I am not a visitor but I live in the BVI and this is a huge tourist attraction. We need tourists to come to the islands, look online, people outside of the BVI see this, lost revenue for the BVI. After all the suffering after the storm we should show our support to ANY business in the BVI. Look further than yourself, this is the problem with the islands.

    • Watcher says:

      Its an amateur night ho house. There are plenty of professional ones all over Tortola.

    • no name says:

      @Sonzabich

      Like you

    • Cudjo says:

      It is a lot more. It is named in honour of a a slave owner. It is a deliberate affront and insult to the descendants of slaves. No wonder the edomites are fighting with their might to have it continue. Evil everywgere and wherever they interlope.

  11. Valley resident says:

    Willy T is a unique, world famous tourist attraction. Why mess with success unless some unknown ” developers” are involved. Sounds fishy to me, more nepotism

  12. USA says:

    Mr. Willy t, dont hesitate yourself with the government of the British Virgin Islands, i think you should start your new investment in the U.S.V.I., look into that & start something new here

  13. Rubber Duck says:

    Another nail in the BVI Tourism coffin.

    Maybe we should have a big March for its funeral.

  14. Eagle eye says:

    NDP have to go

  15. Doc says:

    We will chase away the Brits next.

  16. Wendy says:

    Oh pleeeease….Willie has no barnacle of a claim.
    No license even. Folks need to step back cause lately the instinctive impulse to control given the climate, is becoming wearisome and annoying.

    Please:
    Be on notice that any and all perceived privelege granted by subscriptions to
    classified colorism has been cancelled and is irrevocable.

    Time to move on so move it, Willy.

  17. Dey says:

    Have to Go!!!! A couple more months and the NDP will be history. They are more concerned with securing the bag for themselves.

  18. Sam the man says:

    The No Direction Party continues to underwhelm us all, the Willy T brings in significant tourist dollars and numbers of tourists and what does the Premier do – refuse them to relocate! Can they get any more stupid? This bunch of jobs worths are repeatedly incompetent and must be replaced asap – they do not value hard working business men that provide employment and aid tourism – they just seem intent on pressing the self destruct button….

  19. rigmarole says:

    now this is some serious rigmarole.

  20. Priscilla says:

    Fight Ewan fight!

  21. Mike McG says:

    The Willy T is one of our favorite spots when we go to BVI. I sure hope this is not the begging of the end for what has been one of our favorite vacation destinations.

  22. Smh says:

    The BVI is really going to the dogs. Willy T is one of my favourite places to hangout everytime I go to the BVI for vacation. Every good thing they are trying to take away. Very stupid of them.

  23. BVI lawyer says:

    Ewan, speak to your neighbour Rob about getting Forbes Hare to judicial review. Glenroy’s your man.

  24. Janet Shaheen says:

    I the Willy T is forced to leave Norman Island you can count us out for any future visits to the BVI. The powers that be should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Adios says:

      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. If you are so small minded that the Willy T is THE BVI experience, we can use the space wasted on you for others who appreciate the entire BVI.

  25. Wow says:

    You need to organize a march for your right to occupy and anchor off of Norman Island. S

  26. Capt V says:

    Willie T goes and I never return to the bvi

  27. Believe me says:

    I am a British Virgin Islander and I am disgusted by the way my country is run. Time for change

  28. Curly says:

    WT is popular with tourist and locals, shame on Pirates Bight for pushing out their neighbor after all this time. There is room for both, and really do we need another development on this island, people come here for the fact it is not developed. Shame on everyone involved after the storm i thought we would be more united. This is a local business, employing local people show your support.

    • Paul says:

      I guess I won’t go to the Bight anymore either, and frankly, with the fees now $60 or so, I know a lot of visitors are not even coming to the BVI anymore, at least not those who visit regularly, like 4 or more times a year, I know many who no longer enter their waters.

  29. Love my bvi says:

    And the downward spiral continues,..

    The death knell for the BVI soundeth.

  30. who owns it says:

    I thought the govt agreed to sell the island to the current owners on the promise that it would not be developed?

    • So... says:

      You have it backwards. First of all the government did NOT sell anything. Norman Island was owned by private persons. Government had to APPROVE the sale and lart of the approval was hinged on the island being developed with high end properties. I dont know why people keep saying government selling islands because it is pure lies. Our own locals are the ones selling off for pennies and crying after. Look no further than Oil Nut Bay as a prime example of how stupid we are as a people and then blame govt in the end. This is what happens in a country where common sense is frowned upon and ignorance celebrated!

      • who owns it says:

        But… at the time I was told that one man could only own one island and the govt approved the sale based on the buyers promise not to develop it? Was this true?

        • Anonymous says:

          Lets just say the the current owner…..has the connect with the NDP. This is widely known!

          • Lol says:

            The current owne4 got everything he wanted under VIP and NDP. Thats a fact. No matter which party in billionnaires will get their way. Dont be fooled.

  31. Gelo511 says:

    Business complying with pump out of sewage.Complying with clean water act.It should stay at the bight.

  32. Angel Canetti says:

    Puerto Rican navy . Business complying with clean water act.Pumpout of sewage.Willy T should stay at the bight.

  33. Reality says:

    I just wish the the No Direction Party would stop even for just one week making fools of themselves:- ban Willy T, HOA debate restoring the race track facilities for August festival whilst the Island is a wreck, can’t even organize a decent temp structure at West End Ferry dock in 8 months, plan a runway expansion costing millions, delays in repairing roads,schools and sewage works – and the list goes on and on….tired of these inept politicians that just talk and argue and achieve so little of lasting importance….

  34. Expat says:

    Ok well if the BVI don’t want you I’m sure Blackpool would jump at the chance – literally!!!bit of a journey across the Atlantic though! and a bit colder!amazing that the Government ponses on about creating a tourist task force or whatever further muppet group it means and then goes and bans the Willy T – fools! biting the very hand that is left to feed it! but then the NDP aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the tool box clearly….

  35. Priscilla says:

    Is Jarecki planning on putting his own floating bar there?

  36. Ex expat says:

    Developers put more cash in a brown bag , that’s the way it works . Ewan been there long enough to know that. Scenario 2 is some belonger thinks they can do better in the future.
    Move over to st John to American free capitalism w no belonger holding you hostage for payoff.

  37. Jeff c says:

    Never will I spend too much money for bad service at the only bar that’s allowed te rebuild and dictate the rules of free trade in the Bvi

  38. Curly says:

    How can a business that has been operational for 35 years be put out like this, and why to make room for an outside developer that does not even live within the islands but obviously has deep pockets. I thought the BVI was about protecting small businesses. We do not need another resort within the islands, we are going to end up looking like St Martin. Everyone should be upset about this, not necessarily about whether you visit the WT or not but about the fact that Norman Island will be ruined if such a development takes place. Ha and environmental if we are going to play that card it needs to be across the board.

  39. Jess says:

    I’ve been going to the Willy t since I was a young kid, and I can’t imagine Norman without it. It’s the definition of Norman island…

  40. Watcher says:

    This will really encourage anyone thinking of investing in tourism in the BVI. Spend 35 years building up a business and be closed down overnight. Because a competitor is better connected to the rubber government than you are.

    • JohnJay. says:

      When was it closed?
      Lying?
      Not classy
      Not moral
      Ahhh. Another Willie groupie.

      • Rubber Duck says:

        Denying them the same spot they have occupied for 35 years is effectively closing it. They will need a new seabed lease which is going to take a long time.

  41. Charles says:

    Stupid stimts earn stupid prizes. Tortola is on a roll with thier bad decisions toward tourism…raising entry fees to ridiculously absurd rates, running off tourist Icons like the Willy T,etc…What’s next? As a St. Thomas resident that has direct contact with tourists and boat charters, we are all wondering if they actually want us there. Personally, most of clients choose to stay in USVI due to these stupid decisions. Keep it up, BVI, and pretty soon you won’t have to worry about US visitors anymore.

  42. Irish republican army says:

    People get over it Willie t wasn’t all that move on ………

  43. Wow says:

    Guess they own the sea and land. The beaches should be for the general public….which includes using of the bay.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I say all of us sailors and tourist boycott the new development at Norman until the Willie T returns. We usually go to both places but without the Willie T I will not go there at all

  45. bperry says:

    I say all of us sailors and tourists boycott the new development at Norman until the Willie T returns. Are usually go to both places, but without the Willie T there I will not go at all.

  46. Jim Derse says:

    Dear BVI,
    My wife and I returned from week long boating vacation in the BVI’s. Never again.
    Upon arrival at the airport, my wife was dressed down by a big fat taxi a-hole sitting on a bench outside the airport for setting her backpack on a empty bench, said it was for sitting only!
    Then this guy yells at another current arrival looking for his ride by calling him white boy. You have real problems BVI.
    The racism towards white visitors is so prevalent iits felt everywhere but a few locations we visited. I’ll be spending my vacation dollars elsewhere.

    • Just Wrong says:

      Unfortunately Jim, you are right. I’ve watched this happen over the past 45 years. It is a very real problem in the BVI. And the absolute craziness of this Government denying anchorage for a business that has become an Icon (35 years) for world tourism is mind boggling. Some of us feel the obvious favoritism the government has shown toward caucasian owners i.e. Norman, Guana, Necker, Oil Nut Bay etc. is contributing to the White vs. Black race issue that your goodby letter suggests. Sorry your trip was not better.

  47. Capt Dingo says:

    Come to the USVI. We’d love to have you and I’m sure the Government would love the tax dollars. Hope it all works out with the BVI’s. It is a rite of passage to visit Willy T’s when you’re in the BVI’s.

  48. My3Cents says:

    This is politricks, I going speak it! Simple put Willy T is in direct competition with pirates bight restaurant and bar on Norman island, the owner or who ever does not want any competition.

    Therefore they got in governments ear to to try and stop willy T from returning to the location near their restaurant and this is the result!

    PURE BS! Willy T been there for so many years how only now they know about environmental concerns etc? When people with money talk this government quick to listen.

    Where was government’s concern about the environment when some company with big money got in them ear and say they want to build a golf course/ resort on beef island that would essentially destroy the mangroves, seabed and affect the marine ecosystem on the coast of beef island?

    If it wasn’t for the environmental groups fighting against the building of that golf course/resort all now the marine environment would have been devastated with out a care from government. So please miss me with this Bull SH*+, this is just government officials looking out for pockets of their rich friends and nothing more.

    Politricks at its finest!

  49. Reality says:

    Won’t need to worry to much about competition soon as tourists are not returning – have you read the recent reports about Tórtola on trip adviser? Just don’t go there! Once tourism dries up there will be v little left…

  50. Anonymous says:

    Move the Willy T to USVI , and they will pay you to come back .

  51. rastarite says:

    Why they grumbling. They had 35 years of a no rent huge business. Gov. said they can still do business in BVI but just relocate. Doesn’t sound too bad to me. The Bight will always be popular because it a very protected anchorage.It’s got caves, good diving, the Indians…

    • Eskeeet.. says:

      Stop using Rasta in your name. You ooze ignorance and are befit for nothing more than a comic strip in a third rate newspaper. Moron what the heck you think they been paying in taxes and leases for he past umpteen years?!? Ffs t———— ———- a seat nuh yuh acting like a sentry fowl all the dang time!

  52. Jjjp says:

    The immediate needs of the people should met first, including cleanup (what is lying in the fields and along roadsides will fly in the next storm), and vital services such as schools, road repairs and other necessities.
    Next is that which brings tourists back. Tourism is what supplies jobs and jobs fuel the economy. So fat, it seems that only certain (connected to whom?) entities are being supported. Closing VG airport for lack of just one fire truck is a shortsighted move, esp. when talking about tossing money into redoing a perfectly good airport. Denying a permit for a replacement for a 35 year-old business is foolish as it brings tourists (can’t the nearby restaurant handle the competition?) or have the plans for another unneeded “high-end” resort already been approved by …who? By the way, the Willy T owner was clear about bringing it back, and spent money plus time to do so. Is this the way the government does business?-should make others be clear to get it in writing! Maybe “follow the money” is in order, and everyone eligible to vote should be clear when they vote in the next election about what kind of
    leaders they want.

  53. Walter says:

    Interesting that Premier was having dinner the night before (May 9th) at Pirates restaurant with owner of Norman island and other dignitaries????? Was there so I saw the dinner happening.

  54. Bight says:

    Guess the Bight wants to keep those evening bar tabs forever and not lose customers to Willy T after dinner.

  55. Visitor says:

    Without Willy T the traffic to the restaurant/ bar will dwindle ; the moorings will be half empty. The crowd will follow Willy T. We used to do happy hour/ dinner at the restaurant and later head to WT for a drink or 2…. The big loser will be the shore facilities. They complemented each other instead of being in competition. The 2 make a nice package… But alone the Bight will be empty.

    • JohnJay. says:

      Wow! You must a genius to have figured this out.
      Any possibility that,they are waay ahead of you in calculating and making business decisions?

  56. #freewillyt says:

    No Willy T, no stop at Norman with our 2 boat 14 person charter in June. BVI needs to get it’s stuff together!

  57. #freewillyt says:

    No Willy T, no stop at Norman for our 2 boat 14 person charter in June. BVI needs to get its stuff together!

  58. Gallerry says:

    #Mywilly2

  59. Capt V says:

    I can’t wait for that resort to figure out that most of their revenue is tied to the Willy T.

  60. rastarite says:

    Put the rent up …25 K annually. Willie still be a gold mine

  61. Love my BVI says:

    The Willy-T was not shut down. The Willy-T was asked to relocate. It’s an iconic tourist attraction and lots of fun. I think the only reason people are so upset is because they want to point a finger at the rich white guy who owns the island that surrounds the The Bight where the Willy-T sits.

    Do you realize that they are two entirely different operations and are not tied together in any way? Norman Island, Pirates Bight, Guana Island, Henry Jerecki, the United States, the USVI has nothing to do with the location and operation of the Willy-T.

    If they relocated, your experience on the Willy-T will be different because of where the boat is moored? A second thought, I have read where the government listed citings and conversations with the Willy-T owners about their environmental practices in the past. I have also read in this article where the owner says he’s willing to sit with them and talk things out. If the Willy-T was being so unjustly treated by the Government, why is he willing to sit with them and talk. Go to court.

    Clearly there has been some issues that needed to be rectified on the Willy-T’s part. Stop kicking up dust where it doesn’t need to be kicked. Stop, step back and look at the big picture. If he didn’t do anything wrong that boat would be sitting in The Bight right now, development or not. Nothing would be stopping him on his own accord to go anchor now if there wasn’t some legit reason why the Willy-T was asked to leave.

    The seabed isn’t owned by anyone. Think people and stop constantly blaming and gassing.

  62. @what says:

    Assuming that Ewan has maintained his seabed lease and business licences and all is in good standing (and I can’t imagine for a nanosecond that he’d have let anything lapse), then upon what legal leg can the Government to stand denying him the opportunity to RESUME operations? He, like most other business operators in the BVI sustained significant damage as a result of the hurricanes last year, and appears to have done all that he can to get up and running as soon as feasible thereafter, probably not waiting for an insurance payout to get started.

    What would the response be if The Captain’s Table was denied the right to re-open as a result of a complaint from Village Cay? Hell would be raised, and rightly so. The Willy T’s operations at Norman were commenced decades before Norman was ever developed. Surely, there must be some precedent for their being permitted to continue?

    I hope that common sense (instead of deep pockets and political clout) prevail. Should it not, I can see the BVI being the net loser. It is unlikely that I will ever return to the BVI, but it is action like this that make me wonder where the islands are headed in the long run.

    I wish you and your team luck, Ewan.

  63. Hmmm says:

    Could it be that Jarecki is trying to sell luxury home sites and to do so he needs Willy T and all mooring balls removed? Stay tuned.

  64. I born here says:

    Sigh clearly the usual grease my palms with enough dollars and everything will be ok nonsense – so tiresomely predictable – that’s why most things are built poorly so they can be re done time and time again with more opportunities for ” facilitation fees” we know what happens – the cookie monsters legacy thrives in the BVI!

  65. JohnJay. says:

    Hope so.
    Time to move the trailer park trash.

  66. Anonymous says:

    My crew arrives on Friday can we get a drink and jump off anyway? We need the Willy T no fair, not cool!

  67. WindRiver Pirates says:

    We will never stop at Norman Island or Support any businesses on Norman Island on our Annual Trip to the BVI’s until the Willy T is up and running again. We always travel with a large group (20 or more)and will boycott this stop on all future trips. Hope Pirates Bight Restaurant is ready for a substantial loss of revenue.

  68. Bvi'r says:

    They may have done it to create an attraction for Norman island. Norman has never been iconic.

  69. Bvi'r says:

    I will just skip the bight and go to normans. A short distance to the caves then off to another.

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